Wednesday, 02 December, 2020


Mutated COVID strain Cluster 5 sweeps through global Danish mink farms

A caged mink is seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved Denmark Danish agriculture minister quits over mink culling fiasco
Kristine Garrett | 19 November, 2020, 20:53

Denmark made a decision to cull the animals, which are farmed for their fur, because of fears a mutated version of the coronavirus, passing from minks to humans, could jeopardize the efficacy of a future vaccine.

Testing of all minks at the three minks farms in Ireland was commenced by the Department of Agriculture and the HSE last week began serial testing of all workers at the farms and their families.

A July high of more than 75% of people saying they trusted the government fell to just over half by mid-November, according to a study by Aarhus University. The owners will receive a wider compensation package in the future.

Outbreaks at mink farms had persisted in Denmark, the world's largest producer of mink furs, despite repeated efforts to cull infected animals since June. In total, roughly 15 million minks are to be killed.

But the animal has posed a problem in the fight against the new coronavirus.

It emerged in recent weeks that Denmark was undertaking a massive cull of up to 17 million mink, after the mutation in the virus was found in 12 people in the northern part of Denmark.

Some mink farmers protested against the order to slaughter their healthy minks, as media revealed that Danish legislation allowed the government to order the cull of minks only on affected farms and not a general cull, which the government later admitted.

Later, the country's opposition urged the prime minister to also step down.

Danish researchers say when they transmitted the virus back into humans, the mutation remained which is why they are concerned it might make the COVID-19 vaccine less effective when it is eventually unveiled.

There is a already a commitment in the Programme for Government to phase out mink farming in Ireland.

A statement from the Department of Agriculture said: "The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has been working closely with the public health authorities as well as with the operators of mink farms in Ireland to address any potential risks arising as a result of Covid-19".

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